Skip to navigationSkip to content

🌎 Streaming's new bundle arises

Paramount's content will be a perk for Walmart’s subscribers in what’s largely seen as a challenge to Amazon.

A Walmart logo is displayed on a drive-in screen in Pasadena, California.
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Tribeca Enterprises
This story was published on our Quartz Daily Brief newsletter, The concise, conversational rundown you need to start your day.
  • Sofia Lotto Persio
By Sofia Lotto Persio

Newsletter writer and editor

Published

Good morning, Quartz readers!


Here’s what you need to know

Walmart and Paramount+ struck a streaming deal. The entertainment company’s content will be a perk for Walmart’s subscribers in what’s largely seen as a challenge to Amazon. (More on Walmart’s upcoming earnings below).

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund went on a US stock buying spree… Shares of Alphabet, Zoom, and Microsoft were among the top picks.

…while Michael Burry’s firm sold almost all its holdings. The investor retained shares in just one company, Geo Group, which invests in prisons and mental health facilities.

WeWork’s ousted CEO Adam Neumann won new backers. Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz invested $350 million in his new real estate startup, the New York Times reported.

Starbucks sought a union-voting freeze. The coffee shop chain called for a pause in mail-in votes nationwide to investigate whether the National Labor Relations Board is secretly supporting organizing efforts in Kansas.

Apple cut HR roles. Having anticipated a hiring freeze, the Cupertino giant laid off 100 recruiter contractors. It also changed its remote work policy.



What to watch for

Walmart and Target report earnings today and tomorrow, respectively. The US retail giants are considered to be bellwethers not just of the state of their industry, but overall American spending habits.

Both Walmart and Target have issued profit warnings as excess inventory forced a reduction in the prices of goods like apparel, which the retailers had stocked up on to avoid supply disruptions. Walmart, the largest private employer in the US, also cut about 200 corporate roles this month.

Analysts expect Walmart to report a higher revenue but lower earnings on a year-over-year basis. A similar scenario is expected for Target. A closer look at the retailers’ areas of growth can show how customers’ habits are adapting to inflation. While US inflation didn’t grow in July, food prices were still rising—which should boost Walmart and Target’s revenue in the grocery aisle, but might do little to lower those other inventory piles.


China can’t afford to worry about inflation

The about-face China’s central bank did on rate cuts caught markets and analysts off guard. It’s a strategy shift that indicates just how challenging an economic situation Beijing faces as it battles covid flare-ups, imposes pandemic lockdowns, and contends with a real estate meltdown.

A line graph showing China's medium-term lending facility one-year rate, and how it's gone down since 2019.
Image copyright: Mary Hui


The real question is if the rate cuts will actually do anything to boost China’s economy. If new economic data for July published yesterday is any indication, it’ll be a steep uphill battle. Retail sales, industrial output, and fixed asset investment last month all missed expectations by a wide margin.

As inflation rocks economies globally, for China’s central bank, recovery is still its top priority. Any worries banking authorities have about inflation will have to take a backseat to the more urgent task of trying to rev up the country’s economic engine.


Redbox’s wild ride ends quite predictably

Redbox, one of the strangest meme stocks of the retail-trading era, came to its utterly unsurprising, yet somehow still inexplicable, conclusion last week when it sold to Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment for $370 million.

While Redbox—the money-losing DVD vending machine company—may have been one of the dumbest meme stocks, there’s no denying it had many of the typical ingredients that have made companies like GameStop and Blackberry meme stalwarts. Redbox’s stock was cheap; it had some customer-facing nostalgia; and there was a lot of short-selling going on.

✦ Love following the quirks of the global economy? Our member support helps keep Quartz stories free and accessible to all. Become a member and take 40% off when you sign up today!



Quartz’s most popular

📈 Nigeria’s inflation rose for the sixth consecutive month to reach a 17-year high

📉 The number of foreign companies active in India is declining

🥽 People expect to spend at least four hours a day in the metaverse

🔥 Restaurants that survived Covid can’t survive this heat wave

🌲 Spruce trees have arrived in the Arctic tundra a century ahead of schedule

🤔 Kenyans still don’t trust technology to run the elections



Surprising discoveries

San Francisco thought $20,000 trash cans would help keep sidewalks clean. Yes, the bins have already been vandalized.

A drought allowed a Swiss artist’s annual river sculpture to sprawl into a castle complex... But the artist has mixed feelings: He wants the river to run, but is sad at the thought of his clay world disappearing.

…while extreme heat has unveiled shipwrecks, ghost villages, and ancient cities. For instance, a town covered by water in the early 1990s has re-emerged in Galicia, Spain.

Mattel filed a trademark lawsuit over Nicki Minaj-fronted “Barbie-Que” chips. The doll maker will be furious to learn Australians’ word for BBQ.

Instant noodles may become less cheap. Makers of the packaged noodles want to raise prices, which have stayed the same for 14 years in Thailand.


Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, $20,000 trash cans, and shrimp on the barbie to hi@qz.com. Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Sofia Lotto Persio, Mary Hui, Michelle Cheng, and Morgan Haefner.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.